NHL Draft Lottery Recap: Sharks Score Top Pick for First Time

San Jose Earns Right to Pick BU's Celebrini; Blackhawks, Ducks follow at Nos. 2, 3

San Jose Sharks fans: your patience is about to be rewarded.

After posting their worst season in 28 years, the Sharks struck gold Tuesday when they won the No. 1 pick at the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery in Secaucus, New Jersey.

San Jose will pick first overall for the first time in its 33-year existence. It is almost guaranteed to select celebrated Boston University center Macklin Celebrini, who was the youngest player ever to win the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player when he did so in 2024.

There will be NHL Draft odds available to wager on as the event gets closer. The 2024 draft will take place June 28-29 at Sphere in Las Vegas. San Jose entered with +260 odds to pick first, or 28% implied probability, despite its stated 25% odds of landing the No. 1 overall pick.

Here’s more on that, and the rest of the NHL Draft Lottery recap.

Status Quo

If you missed the lottery because you were too focused on today’s NHL scores, this year’s event was unique in that the order remained unchanged.

San Jose had the shortest odds to land the top pick, followed by the Chicago Blackhawks (+500), Anaheim Ducks (+700), and Columbus Blue Jackets (+850), and those teams will pick with the Nos. 1-4 selections.

The favorite to win the lottery did so for the fourth straight year — the New York Rangers were the last team to jump when they did so in 2020. But the fact the order of selection was exactly as the season played out is an anomaly since the weighted lottery began in 2012.

Aside from landing the rights to choose Celebrini, the Sharks once again ended up with two first-round picks via trade. San Jose will choose first and 14th, a consequence of its offseason trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins for reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson.

Uncover Exclusive Picks & Predictions From Our Experts.

Celebrating Celebrini

Celebrini is the consensus No. 1 overall prospect in this draft, but you might be asking what’s so great about him? And what are the Sharks getting with their inevitable selection.

Celebrini is something of a unicorn in that he’s only 17 years old — he’ll turn 18 on June 13 — yet still has taken the hockey world by storm. He had 32 goals and 64 points in 38 games, helping the Terriers reach the Frozen Four, yet is renowned for his elite hockey sense and playmaking.

Despite the fact he’s from North Vancouver, British Columbia, Celebrini also has local appeal in Northern California. He played for the Sharks U14 AAA team in 2019-20 before transferring to Shattuck St. Mary’s in Minnesota, and his dad works as head of sports medicine for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

His parents live in the Bay Area, and San Jose is just 55 miles south of the Warriors home in San Francisco.

The Sharks have long been known as a stable organization, since they reached the playoffs in 21 of 32 seasons, including a run of 14 playoff berths in a 15-season span — and five final-four appearances between 2004-19. But they have not drafted many NHL players as dynamic and marketable as Celebrini will be.

That comes at the perfect time since San Jose was 30th in average attendance per game — ahead of only Winnipeg and Arizona.

The Sharks have missed the playoffs five straight seasons, and bottomed out with 47 points in 2023-24 — their fewest in an 82-game season since 1995-96. The pressure will be on Celebrini from Day 1, though he’ll have other youthful faces since San Jose will have made four first-round picks over the past two years.

Odds and Ends

After Celebrini, there’s a bit of a debate over who the Blackhawks may select at No. 2.

Ivan Demidov, the Russian-born winger, is generally perceived as the second-best forward behind Celebrini. But there are questions about whether Demidov will play in North America next season, and

Belarussian defenseman Artyom Levshunov would make a great option for the blue-line-barren Blackhawks.

Whoever doesn’t get picked by the Blackhawks at No. 2 will make a fine selection for Anaheim at No. 3. Most mock drafts project Demidov at No. 2 and Levshunov at 3, those could flip, especially since Levshunov is already playing in the U.S. at Michigan State.

Levshunov, despite his Belarussian heritage, is the No. 2 skater on NHL Central Scouting’s list of North American prospects. Demidov is the No. 2 skater on their list of European prospects behind defenseman Anton Silayev.

Silayev, the monster 6-7 blueliner, is slated as a top-5 pick as well. He could go to Columbus, as FloHockey’s Chris Peters projects, or Utah, as The Athletic’s Max Bultman predicts.

All the big prospects will be scheduled to attend the NHL finals, and the NHL scouting combine is coming up later in the spring as well. There should be more clarity after those two events take place.

For NHL betting news, NHL Draft Lottery recap, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.

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